(IDAHO FALLS/BOISE, ID) — EastIdahoNews.com has obtained a copy of the petition from the Bonneville County Public Defenders Office which could re-open the case in the Angie Dodge murder conviction of Christopher Tapp.
Press Release from the Public Defender:
The Bonneville County Public Defenders office has filed a petition for post conviction relief on State v. Christopher Tapp. This latest post conviction action is based on allegations that the Bonneville County Prosecutors Office and Idaho Falls Police Department failed to turn over evidence and possible witnesses statements which were exculpatory in nature. The witnesses affidavits were filed with the court on September 6, 2012 and were attached to the petition for post conviction as exhibits.
The witnesses allege that in the early morning hours of June 13, 1996 a man came to the door of their apartment and requested to come inside to wash up. He had blood on his clothes, tape on his wrists, scratches on his face and a rug burn on his chin.
One of the witnesses was later questioned by police but his statement was never turned over to Chris Tapp’s Defense team.
This information came to light in the past few weeks in great part due to the efforts and hard work of Carol Dodge and her investigative team who are determined to find the person who left the DNA evidence at the crime scene and free Chris Tapp from what they feel is a wrongful conviction.
The petition claims exculpatory evidence, that is evidence that could excuse the defendant, was withheld in the case of Christopher Tapp citing Brady v. Maryland as a precedent.
Allegations that information that was known and controlled by the Idaho Falls Police Department were never turned over to the defense.
In the affidavits earlier this year taken from a couple living on North Woodruff, near the scene of the Angie Dodge murder. John Browning indicated that around 3 a.m. on June 13th, a man knocked on his door. This individual was soaked in blood, had cuts and abrasions on his face and a rug burn on his chin. Browning said the man made him feel uncomfortable. The man asked to use his bathroom to clean up, but Browning told the man to use the hose outside, and that he could not come inside the home. Browning said the man explained his injuries and blood without being asked recalling that he seemed to be looking for an alibi. Browning did say in the affidavit that he gave an oral statement to Idaho Falls detectives. Browning’s wife Gentri Nicole Morris Goff said she was never contacted by police to verify Browning’s story. In July of this year, Tapp’s legal team showed Goff a photo of Jeff Smith, whom she indicated was the man who came to their home the night of the Dodge murder.
Smith is mentioned as a suspect in the murder over 10-times in Ken Brown’s police report. This petition states that Smith’s identity should at least have been turned over to the defense in this case, but it was not. The petition also states that the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecution violates the defendant’s rights to due process when exculpatory evidence is withheld.
Tapp was convicted after a “confession” in 1997 to the Dodge murder that he claims he was pressured into giving by Idaho Falls police. The victim’s mother, Carol Dodge, contends that Christopher Tapp did not kill her daughter.
Erin Quaranta, EastIdahoNews.com Student Contributor
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com